Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Review: The Irresistible Force - It's Tomorrow Already
The Irresistible Force, as I'm sure you're aware, is the production alias of Mixmaster Morris, who along with The KLF and The Orb pretty much reinvented ambient music for the ecstasy generation. There's a lot of history I can't be bothered to recount as to how these three names, through the playing of much Pink Floyd, Brian Eno and other downtempo weirdness in the chill out rooms of prominent early '90s clubs and raves, brought the concept of sample-heavy, tripped-out come-down music to the acid house masses. Morris, for whatever reason, never achieved the fame and success of the other two. A few Irresistible Force productions have ascended to minor-classic status, but Space Is The Place or the remix of Coldcut's Autumn Leaves are never going to rank alongside Little Fluffy Clouds, Blue Room or What Time Is Love? on the pantheon.
It's Tomorrow Already is (to date) the last Irresistible Force album, and given it came out almost 14 years ago I think it's pretty safe to say there won't be another one. This was released on Ninja Tunes, long after the ambient house boom had burst and so is probably the least historically relevant of his albums, even though it's kept alive and in circulation by the enduring success of Ninja, which hasn't gone bust in the manner of most '90s electronic labels. It's a pretty nice album, but it probably sounded pretty dated back in 1998. Strangely it probably sounds less dated now because the '90s happened aaages ago and the development of ambient music between '92 and '98 seems small fry in this world of Kompakt and Oneohtrix Point Never. Everything from the '90s just sounds "classic" now, and the fact this shit had been well-covered by 1998 doesn't really matter because 1998 has been well covered as well. I hope this makes sense.
The point is I can see why Mixmaster Morris stopped releasing under this alias shortly afterwards, because he wasn't really going anywhere. The ambient house of the early '90s was addicted to retro, unlikely spoken samples ripped from obscure TV shows and this album is absolutely awash with them. In 1992 it was probably a cool gimmick, but by 1998 with Warp Records in full flow, there's just something a little quaint about this record. Most of the ideas here have been done in earlier, fresher albums and the production quality isn't really superior enough to distinguish it from those creatively vibrant works. There's only so many strange documentary voices talking about fish dances you can base a track around before people decide enough is enough. There are a couple of lovely tracks, especially opener Power, and if you're one of those poor, uneducated kids who doesn't know shit about the '90s this might just blow your mind. More likely it'll sound a bit dated and naff, though, which is the conundrum here. This album will appeal neither to the veterans (who've heard its like too many times before) or the newbies who'll already have mass-downloaded terabytes of stuff light years more developed than this small-time sample-pasting.
Genre: Ambient house.
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 6/10